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Peace or Terror?

The chart above shows the number of Israelis killed each month in Palestinian terrorist attacks from the start of the intifada riots in December 1987 through August 1998. It is divided into segments marking significant changes in the political situation. The red line shows the average level of fatalities within each political period.


1. In December 1987, a traffic accident in Gaza sparked widespread rioting which came to be known as the Intifada. Despite the widespread violence, however Israeli fatalities were low in the early months.

2. After Israel's June 1992 elections, a new governing coalition was formed, led by the left-wing Labor party. It began to relax the tight security policies of the previous right-wing Likud-led government. An upsurge in terrorism followed soon thereafter.

3. Terrorism shot up again after September 1993, when the Labor government broke with longstanding Israeli policy by brokering a deal with the PLO terrorist organization. In the 30 months after that date, more Israelis were killed by terrorists (213) than in the preceding decade (209 from January 1983 to September 1993).

4. Since the end of a wave of mass suicide bombings in February-March 1996, and since the election in May 1996 of a new government led by the Likud party, the level of terrorism has fallen dramatically. There have been far fewer successful major terrorist attacks, and fatalities in lower-level terrorism have also dropped significantly.

Sources: Peace Watch, Shalem Center, Yesha Council, Jewish Action Initiative, news reports.

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